The Hampstead Mystery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 406 pages of information about The Hampstead Mystery.

The bar was represented chiefly by junior members.  The senior members were able to make full use of the long vacation, spending it at health resorts or in the country, but the incomes of the young shoots of the great parasitical profession did not permit them to enjoy more than a brief holiday out of town.  Of course it would never have done for them to admit even to each other that they could not afford to go away for an extended holiday, and therefore they told one another in bored tones that they had not been able to make up their minds where to go.  The junior bar included old men, who, through lack of influence, want of energy, want of advertisement, want of ability, or some other deficiency, had never earned more than a few guineas at their profession, though they had spent year after year in chambers.  They lived on scanty private means.  Broken in spirit they had even ceased to attend the courts in order to study the methods and learn the tricks of successful counsel.  But the murder of a High Court judge was a thing which stirred even their sluggish blood, and in the hope of some sensational development they had put on faded silk hats and shabby black suits and gone out to Hampstead to attend the inquest.

The interest of the junior bar in the crime was as personal as that of the members of the Judicial Bench, though it manifested itself in an entirely different direction.  They speculated among themselves as to who would be appointed to the vacancy on the High Court Bench.  A leading K.C. with a political pull would of course be selected by the Attorney-General, but there were several K.C.’s who possessed these qualifications, and therefore there was room for differences of opinion among the junior bar as to who would get the offer.  The point on which they were all united was that vacancies of the High Court Bench were a good thing for the bar as a whole, for they removed leading K.C.’s, and the dispersion of their practice was like rain on parched ground.  Metaphorically speaking, every one—­including even the junior bar—­had the chance of getting a shove up when a leading K.C. accepted a judicial appointment.  Some of the more irreverent spirits among the junior bar, in drawing attention to the fact that Sir Horace Fewbanks had been one of the youngest members of the High Court Bench, expressed the hope that the shock of his death would be felt by some of the extremely aged members of the bench who were too infirm in health to be able to stand many shocks.

The members of the junior bar chatted with the representatives of the lower branch of the profession who ranged from articled clerks whose young souls had not been entirely dried up by association with parchment, to hard old delvers in dusty documents who had lived so long in the legal atmosphere of quibbling, obstruction, and deceit, that they were as incapable of an honest impetuous act as of an illegal one.  The gossip concerning the murdered judge in which the two branches of the

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The Hampstead Mystery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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